no sound virtual instrument

good evening, I just bought cubase 11 and unfortunately my master keyboard NI complete kontrol, does not provide any sound when I select it in cubase!

Hi and welcome to the forum,

MIDI keyboards don’t provide any sound, they provide MIDI data (mostly Notes and Controllers).

Can you see incoming MIDI data over the Transport Panel? Have you added an Instrument track? Which instrument did you choose? Did you load a sound in the instrument? Can you see incoming MIDI data to the instrument? Can you see the meters on the output of the instrument? Can you see meters on the track? Can you see meters on the Stereo Out? What audio device do you use? Is it setup correctly in the Studio > Audio Connections > Outputs?

Data flow from your MIDI controller keyboard is:
NI > Cubase > Instrument or MIDI Track > Instrument Plugin or physical MIDI port.
A track has to be ‘armed’ for recording or monitoring for the MIDI messages from a controller to ‘pass through’ to an instrument.

Try this quick walkthrough on one of many ways to load an ‘instrument’ in Cubase:

  1. In the main menu find “Media/MediaBay” [or tap your F5 key].

  2. Open the left panel of the media bay and click the VST Sound category.

  3. Use the filters and search features to find an instrument preset you’d like to play.

In this example I’ll be hunting for the HALion Sonic SE preset called [GM 001] Acoustic Grand Piano

I’m choosing this one to find first simply because I’m using Cubase Pro with a ton of extra plugins and presets installed, but I’m pretty sure this one comes with Cubase LE and should be somewhere in your list of presets.

  1. Right click your choice and choose, “Create Track”.

Cubase will create a new instrument track, load HALion SE, and HALion will in turn load that piano sound into its first program slot, ready to receive from 'All MIDI Inputs" on channel 1.

  1. Close MediaBay to get that window out of your way.

  2. Click the little speaker icon on the track controls to arm it for monitoring. Enabling the monitor allows the MIDI messages to pass through to the instrument connected to the track.

  3. Play something on your MIDI controller. You should get a sound.

Did that work?

If NOT, make sure you have Cubase configured properly with your audio interface. Make sure your keyboard is plugged in and listed as an accessible device (Studio/Studio Setup/MIDI Port Setup).

If it did work, have a look at how the MediaBay works in the Owner’s Manual.
MediaBay and Media Rack (
It’s a quick and handy way to find/load/manage pretty much anything Cubase is capable of loading/importing/playing at levels lower than the main ‘project files’.

Note, it’s also possible to load instrument plugins first (as rack, or track instruments), search for sounds within their own custom user interface, and then manually assign instrument or MIDI tracks to play them. I.E. If you have Kontact Player installed properly where Cubase can find it you might:

  1. Load an instance of Kontact in the VST Instrument rack. Cubase would ask if you want to create a track to go with the instrument. If you opt out of this, then you can later create tracks and connect them to the Kontact instance in the track inspector.

  2. Open the Kontact instance.

  3. Find and load your instrument presets from inside Kontact itself.

  4. Arm/disarm assossiated tracks for monitoring/recording as needed.

Instrument Tracks vs Rack Instruments
New users are often confused at the differences and similarities between 'Instrument" tracks and ‘MIDI’ tracks. Which should you use and why?

Instrument tracks embed an endpoint to an instrument or plugin. They’re really good for mono-timbral plugins (Mystic, Prologue, Padshop, etc.), single channel mpc style rhythm plugins (Groove Agent SE), or anything you intend to group together and export as auditionable ‘midi-loop’. You can also connect MIDI tracks to an Instrument Track end point.

Instrument tracks are superb for compositional styles that involve re-using grooves, progressions, themes, riffs, etc…with a specific ‘sound’ already configured, as exported MIDI Loops will recall the ‘instrument plugins’ involved in creating the sound when imported into a new project, and these MIDI Loops can be instantly auditioned in MediaBay without going to the trouble to load them into the DAW, and manually set up instrument(s) independently.

It is possible to make multi-timbral instrument tracks by setting the output channel to ANY and using special embedded lanes and stuff, but it can get finicky to manage and edit. The inital workflow will usually be simpler for such tasks if opting for MIDI tracks for working with a multi-timbral plugin (You can always condense it down later into a single instrument track if you want to make some MIDI Loops of it).

For more through composed types of projects where maximum flexibility in manipulating individual tracks is desired, it often makes sense to instead load an instance of a multi-timbral plugin (I.E. HALion Sonic SE) as a ‘rack instrument’, and simply connect MIDI Tracks to it as needed.

MIDI tracks do not automatically retain memory of an endpoint/instrument like an instrument track does, and they cannot be exported on their own as true ‘midi Loop’ files, but they can offer some other advantages such as AUX MIDI Sends (route a track to multiple channels or plugins at the same time), and they might sometimes offer some advantages in isolating/manipulating/editing/cloning/processing the tracks with things like Logical Editors, and more.

I.E. If you have a composition workflow where you’ll already have an orchestra template of sounds to choose from loaded up…and you’ll be duplicating tracks, or parts of tracks often, and then connecting them to different sounds (Yeah, I wanna clone that french horn part transposed down an octave, and also clone it yet again for the Tenor Saxes) (I need to channel bounce alot, because this violin section phrase needs 4 different bowing styles throughout), then you probably will not want/need a whole new instance of some plugin loaded every time you clone the track. Instead, you just want to be able to ‘route’ them to whatever needs to play it as needed. Thus…you’d probably opt to ‘rack mount’ your instruments, and use MIDI Tracks instead of Instrument Tracks.